Nothing on earth says “summer in Bend” like harmonies swirling off the river as guitar strums guide the sun to its fiery snooze behind the stage.
As we barrel toward another epic concert season at Hayden Homes Amphitheater, here’s all you need to know about the 2023 Bend summer concert season.
If you’ve hit a concert at the Hayden Homes Amphitheater in the past two years, you’ve seen the new-and-improved stage that added an extra 1,840 feet of stage space and launched Bend into the big leagues for the sort of acts we can attract. The new design also brought fresh options for seating, including cabanas and a raised deck near the river.
By now you should be used to the rules about clear bags being the only type allowed (no regular purses or backpacks) but here’s an update: You can now bring a small clutch/handheld bag that’s not clear, as long as it’s 6”x 9” or smaller. If you forget, there’s a bag check outside the venue where they’ll hold your goodies for a small fee.
Regular chairs still aren’t allowed, nor are blankets or strollers, but you’re allowed to have seat cushions measuring 16”x16” or smaller. As an alternative, bring a yoga mat or a beach towel measuring 30”x60” or smaller.
You can still rent chairs at the venue, or at the time you purchase your ticket (while supplies last). But it’s worth noting several shows won’t have chairs of any kind, including Chris Stapleton, Weezer, The Smashing Pumpkins, Dierks Bently, and Dave Matthews Band.
My favorite new highlight of the 2023 concert season is a revamped food vendor lineup. From buffalo shrimp with grits to vegan Argentinian empanadas, there’s a whole ‘lotta tasty goodness coming our way this year. Food vendors include Masa Empanada, Zydeco, Juno Sushi Garden, Midcity Smashburger, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Wild and Free Charcuterie, Fresco and Fryed, Island Noodles, and Dump City Dumplings. There’s also a new Hayden Homes Amphitheater food card called Sound Bites, which will feature food sourced from local farms. Is anyone else’s mouth watering?
For more info on what to expect for this year’s concerts, see the section below on having the best possible concert experience.
You’ll find a complete list on the Bend Concerts website, and I offer the following knowing it’ll be outdated if another announcement slips through or something else sells out. But here’s the lineup as of May 4, 2023:
- May 27: Kenny Wayne Shepherd Backroads Blues Festival
- May 28: James Taylor (sold out)
- June 1: Quinn XCII with A R I Z O N A
- June 3: Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band
- June 4: Lord Huron
- June 10: Elvis Costello
- June 16: Chris Stapleton (sold out)
- June 17: Death Cab for Cutie
- June 22: Whiskey Myers (sold out)
- June 24: Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, and Leftover Salmon
- June 25: Taj Majal and Los Lobos
- June 27: Indigo Girls (with full band) and Neko Case
- July 1: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
- July 7: Slightly Stoopid with Sublime and Rome
- July 8: Nickel Creek
- July 14: Lyle Lovett and His Large Band
- July 16: Jimmy Eat World and Manchester Orchestra
- July 18: Stick Figure
- July 19: Blues Traveler and Big Head Todd and the Monsters
- July 20: Matt Rife (sold out)
- July 25: Andrew Bird
- July 26: Tears for Fears with Cold War Kids
- July 27: The String Cheese Incident
- July 28: 3 Doors Down with special guest Candlebox
- July 29: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and Ziggy Marley
- July 30: boygenius
- August 3: Beck and Phoenix with Jenny Lewis
- August 4: Cake
- August 5: Michael Franti & Spearhead
- August 6: Smashing Pumpkins with Stone Temple Pilots and Rival Sons
- August 9: Father John Misty and The Head and the Heart
- August 12: Bon Iver (sold out)
- August 15: Young the Giant with Milky Chance
- August 16: My Morning Jacket with M. Ward
- August 18: Greensky Bluegrass with The Wood Brothers
- August 19: Noah Kahan (sold out)
- August 22: Weezer with Spoon
- August 23: Pink Martini
- August 24: Dierks Bentley
- August 25: Dierks Bentley
- August 26: Rebelution with Iration
- August 27: Sylvan Esso with Indigo de Souza
- August 29: Dave Matthews Band
- September 2: Lindsey Stirling with Walk Off The Earth
- September 4: Goo Goo Dolls with O.A.R.
- September 7: Rick Springfield with The Hooters and Tommy Tutone
- September 8: Kidz Bop
- September 9: The Lumineers (sold out)
- September 10: The Lumineers (sold out)
- September 12: Jelly Roll
- September 14: Counting Crows with Dashboard Confessional
I just got carpal tunnel typing that!
With the caveat that this could change the instant I hit “post,” here’s what’s already sold out: James Taylor, Chris Stapleton, Whiskey Myers, Matt Rife, Bon Iver, Noah Kahan, Dave Matthews Band, and both nights of The Lumineers.
The word around the campfire is that several more shows are edging close to selling out, so word of advice? Buy your tickets soon!
Want some money-saving tips?
For music lovers on a budget, don’t fret—you can still catch some of the season’s hottest concerts in Bend.
For starters, consider buying tickets in person at the Ticket Mill in the Old Mill District. There’s a $7 flat fee on any ticket purchased there, which is a heck of a lot less than the $8-$28 service fees you’ll pay for online purchases.
If you really want to save, mark your calendar for the Live Nation Concert Week promotion May 10-16, 2023. For a limited time, they’re offering $25 tickets to more than 3,700 shows across North America, including some awesome ones in Bend. The list includes Beck & Phoenix, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Counting Crows, Dierks Bentley, and several more.
Each show that’s part of the sale has a limited number of tickets available at the discounted price, so be sure you get logged in early, make sure your credit card info is up to date, and pounce the instant the sale goes live.
Your heart’s set on a sold out show…
I feel ya on this one, so here’s a tip: If you’re patient and you watch the site closely, you can still grab tickets through Ticketmaster’s Verified Resale Program. Yes, you’ll end up paying a little more than if you’d been lucky enough to snag seats when they first went on sale, but you won’t face the risks you’d take buying from a scalper. These are legit tickets that come with a guarantee, so if you really really really really want to see Noah Kahan or Dave Matthews Band, give that a shot. May the force be with you!
Top tips for the best Bend concert experience
If you hadn’t guessed by now, I go to a lot of Bend concerts. I set my family’s vacation plans around the Hayden Homes Amphitheater schedule, and I may occasionally pee myself over really exciting concert announcements (Andrew Bird, James Taylor, Manchester Orchestra, The Lumineers…squeee!)
Below are some of the best tips I can offer for maximizing your Bend concert experience:
- Read the rules carefully for each individual concert. Some have special rules, and some shows have unusual setups. For example, the Matt Rife comedy show is limited to folks 18 and older. No matter which show you pick, be sure to read the rules before you go!
- Buy a stadium cushion with a back. If you’d rather not rent chairs at the venue, invest in one of those legless, flat-bottomed stadium cushions commonly used for football games. Crazy Creek makes some excellent ones that are pretty darn comfortable, or you can opt for a towel or yoga mat to keep your butt off the grass.
- Get yourself a small, see-through tote bag. Like I mentioned above, you can’t bring a regular ol’ purse or backpack to the venue. Buy a see-through bag that meets a size restriction of 12” by 6” by 12”, and make sure it’s got only one compartment. I grumbled a bit when this rule went into effect, but I’ll admit it’s easier to breeze through security. Bonus: a clear bag makes it much easier to find glasses or reusable water bottle.
- Take note of what’s not allowed at any show at all. This includes weapons of any kind or anything considered threatening by the general public. Smokeables of any sort–legal or illegal–are also not permitted. No alcohol or drugs, and no outside food or beverage. Pets are also not permitted, except service animals. They’re also asking that you leave behind any wagons, golf umbrellas, Aeroloungers, Frisbees, hula hoops, confetti, streamers, balloons, projectiles, Silistring, and wolverines. I might’ve made up that last one, but it’s a good rule of thumb to leave vicious animals and surly spouses at home.
- Don’t buy from scalpers. Seriously, that’s a good way to lose your hard-earned cash to a scammer.
- No poaching the show from the sidewalk or river outside the venue. It’s private property, not to mention our pristine Deschutes River takes a beating when folks try to anchor there. Be kind to the touring artists who took hard hits from the pandemic and pony up the ticket fee to see them.
- Watch the weather. High desert temps can fluctuate wildly, especially with some of those shows later in the season. You might arrive to bright sunshine at the start of the concert and find yourself freezing by sundown. Bring an extra layer or two, and don’t forget sunglasses.
- Be nice. You’re in Bend. This goes without saying whether you’re attending a concert or hiking the River Trail. For tips on understanding concert etiquette in Bend, check this blog post for details like when and where it’s cool to get up and dance. Keep in mind a few things have changed since then, including the fact that we’ve all become a bit feral. Be kind, be patient, and be happy we can go shake our groove things together again.
See you at the shows!